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City puts out RFP for the Chateau

City puts out RFP for the Chateau

The City of Rochester is putting a call out for ideas on how to best manage the day-to-day operations of the historic Chateau Theatre.

The city formally launched its request for proposal (RFP) process for the re-use of the Chateau on Wednesday. The RFP is open to all interested parties and has a submission deadline of February 15, 2019.

The criteria for applicants includes priorities such as partnering with community groups and using the highest degree of care when it comes to the preservation of the 90-year-old building. Any proposal should also include how to “create a vibrant entertainment, education, and cultural hub” in the venue, which after repairs will hold up to 390 people.

It is unclear what kind of ideas might emerge from this public process. The city is using a strategy similar to the one that resulted in the Castle Community project at the old Armory/Senior Center building. The only difference: in the case of the Chateau, the city will retain ownership.

“Given the success of the RFP process for the Armory building, we hope to receive similarly creative and innovative submission for the Chateau Theatre,” said Aaron Parish, assistant city administrator. He described the process as a “truly a unique opportunity for an operator.”

The plan to open the space back up was brought forward in the early part of 2018. Members of a task force appointed to steer the direction of the venue had grown frustrated as earlier, more grand ideas stalled at the city level.

Their solution — at least in the interim — was to begin making initial renovations to the city-owned structure so it can be used for performances, meetings, and the like. “Interim use will give the community access to this extraordinary space quickly, and it will set us up for successful long-term activation,” Destination Medical Center’s Patrick Seeb said at the time.

The Rochester City Council and DMC Corporation Board have since approved $1.1 million in funding for the renovation project. The money will be used for the initial roofing and interior renovation work. Work inside is set to begin this month, with the roofing scheduled for spring 2019.

In making its pitch to potential applicants, the city touts that Peace Plaza sees close to 1.4 million visitors a year and is within walking distance of more than 2,200 hotel rooms. The city, as part of the DMC Heart of the City project, is also in the planning stages of making improvements to the area encompassing the Chateau. In a news release, Lisa Clarke, head of the DMC Economic Development Agency, called the theater “a community treasure” that “has always been at the core of our DMC Heart of the City planning.”

You can view the full RFP from the city right here.

The fall of Hotel Carlton

As efforts move forward to preserve one local landmark, another historic structure is facing the wrecking ball.

The Hotel Carlton — most recently a Days Inn — is coming down after nearly a century of standing tall on the north side of downtown.

The city council had approved the demo despite a request from the Heritage Preservation Commission to protect it.

The building — which also had been home to the popular Pannekoeken restaurant — was built in 1920 during an economic boom period.

Still no word yet on what might replace it.

Cover photo: File image of the Chateau / Oliver Hammond 

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